Review of The Lemonheads
by Josh Modell

From Magnet October 2006

This may not be fair, but it needs to be said: “Black Gown,” the best song on the Lemonheads’ self-titled comeback, isn’t as good as the worst song on the band’s 1992 college-rock classic It’s A Shame About Ray. (Let’s say that’s “Ceiling Fan In My Spoon,” for argument’s sake.) Still, it’s tough to simply dismiss anything Evan Dando does based on his peak performances, and The Lemonheads features enough solid, backward-looking pop to please anyone who graduated high school between 1990 and 1998. If they haven’t given up ages ago, it could even bring back fans from the Lemonheads’ raucous early days. Instead of gathering the last lineup (that’d be pointless considering the turnover rate), Dando enlisted Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson of the Descendents to supercharge his latest batch - or at least couch them in the kind of even-handed rocking that makes average songs toe-tappable. What Dando mostly loses in the bargain are the sweet, mid-energy half-ballads that he does so well, like “Confetti” and “It’s All True.” The result: several passably good rockers (“Black Gown,” “Poughkeepsie,” “No Backbone”; the latter features J Mascis on guitar), a few forgivable throwaways (“Steve’s Boy,” “Rule Of Three”) and no real harm or boost to a legacy that was always sorta teetering anyway. Call it a pleasant draw.

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